The preceding passage, which centered on Jesus on as the High Priest, ended with the note that Jesus was called by God as High Priest according to the order of Melchizedek. In this lesson, we see that as the author mentions Melchizedek, his attention is diverted to the readers’ dullness of hearing and spiritual immaturity. He goes even further to warn about the impossibility of bringing back believers who fall away.
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- Admonition against Spiritual Infancy (5:11-14)
- Exhortation to Go on to Maturity (6:1-3)
- Consequence of Falling Away (6:4-8)
According to this passage, what characterize spiritual infancy?Hide Answer
Dull of hearing (11); needing to be taught again the first principles of the oracles of God (12); needing milk and not solid food (12); unskilled in the word of righteousness (13).
What characterize spiritual maturity?Hide Answer
Taking solid food; senses exercised by reason of use; able to discern both good and evil (14).
Define the following terms: a. Dull of hearing b. First principles of the oracles of God c. Milk and solid food d. Word of righteousnessHide Answer
a. Slow to understand (cf. Mt 13:13-15).
b. The ABC’s of God’s word; the very basics of God’s will.
c. Milk refers to elementary teachings, whereas solid food refers to teachings that only the spiritually perceptive can understand and profit from.
d. The word of God, which shows us what is right before God (cf. “discern good and evil” in 14).
What distinguishes the babes and the mature in terms of how they respond to God’s word?Hide Answer
The spiritual infant is unskilled in God’s word. In other words, he is not only slow to learn but also hardly practices God’s word. He needs to be taught the basics again and again. On the contrary, the spiritually mature train themselves through constant use of God’s word. Through much experience, they are able to discern what is good and evil. They can stand firm on sound doctrines and reject all false teachings (cf. Eph 4:13-14). They can also abstain from sin and live a life pleasing to God.
How can we have “our senses exercised” instead of being “unskilled”?Hide Answer
God’s word can sharpen our spiritual perception if we constantly put it into practice (13). Without constant use, we will be inexperienced with God’s word and slow in our spiritual senses.
What does the author mean by “the elementary principles of Christ” and “foundation” (6:1)? List these “elementary principles” and explain why they are so called.Hide Answer
Repentance from dead works, faith toward God, doctrine of baptisms, laying on of hands, resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgement were teachings that were taught to new converts. While they are important, believers who have been in Christ for a long time should already be well versed in them and able to teach others about them instead of needing to be taught again concerning them.
How does the exhortation to leave the elementary principles of Christ apply to you?Hide Answer
Some questions to ponder are: “Do you still question, doubt, or struggle with the fundamental beliefs of the Christian faith?” “Are you complacent about merely having understood and accepted the basic beliefs?” “Do you have an eager desire to learn as much about God’s word as you possibly can and to constantly practice it in your life?”
What is the teaching of verse 3?Hide Answer
While we need to be diligent in making progress towards perfection, we also must depend on God to accomplish this goal. We cannot do it alone. Our determination can be effective only if it is built on God’s help.
What impossibility is discussed here?Hide Answer
The impossibility of being renewed again to repentance.
What kind of people are verses 4 and 5 describing?Hide Answer
These are people who have come to understand the gospel of salvation and have experienced the Holy Spirit and the grace of God.
Describe the condition of falling away (Use verses 7-8 to help you).Hide Answer
A person who falls away is one who “bears thorns and briers.” In other words, his heart has been hardened by sin’s deceitfulness and become an evil heart of unbelief (3:12-13). Like the land that receives rain but bears thorns and briers, God’s word has no effect on his life. Instead of bearing the fruit of the spirit, he is unproductive and leads a worthless, and even sinful life.
What does it mean to “crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame” (6)?Hide Answer
Historically, those who crucify the Son of God and put Him to an open shame were the unbelievers who rejected Jesus Christ and His saving grace. Therefore, if anyone who has been enlightened by God’s word and spirit and has tasted God’s grace forsakes Jesus Christ, he is as guilty as those who nailed Him to the cross. Worse still, he would be twice as guilty because he is doing it the second time (the first time being before tasting the grace of God).
What is the end for those who fall away?Hide Answer
Destruction (cf. Mt. 13:40-42).